Khabib Nurmagomedov believes a potential Conor McGregor vs. Justin Gaethje fight would be a competitive one.
Nurmagomedov defends his lightweight title against Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 249 on April 18 in Brooklyn, New York. McGregor is expected to face the winner of the contest. However, Gaethje — on a three-fight winning streak — has been campaigning for a fight with the Irishman if he isn’t to get the next title shot.
He even went as far as saying he would punch UFC president Dana White if his opportunity was taken away.
So what would happen if McGregor and Gaethje did end up facing each other? “The Eagle” finds it hard to separate them even if he is edging towards his stable mate in Gaethje.
“Justin Gaethje and Conor, it’s a hard question,” Nurmagomedov told MMA Junkie. “My opinion, I want Justin Gaethje, but I think (it’s) 50/50. I think you guys think (it’s) 50/50, too. Because it’s going to be stand-up fight, Justin is good, Conor is good on the standup, and I think it’s going to be 50/50.”
If Nurmagomedov remains champion for the foreseeable future, he will eventually have to come up against Gaethje.
“The Highlight” has long claimed he is a bad matchup for the champion and many observers share that opinion. Nurmagomedov certainly believes Gaethje represents a tough task, but it isn’t any different from the rest of the top contenders in the division.
“Justin Gaethje is one of the best lightweights in the world, of course,” Nurmagomedov added. “Anyone in the top of the lightweight division is going to be hard. You have to believe this. You have to believe you can become champion one day. If not, why do you train? I respect his mind, I respect how he thinks, and I respect he want to show his skill, and he want to challenge himself. You have to.”
How do you see a McGregor vs. Gaethje fight going?